Sunday, December 31, 2023

Going forward in the New Year

So things are about to get interesting with the old family.  I posted a few weeks back about our rather up and down year, especially through the fall and my wife's job predicament that, in the end, turned out much better for us - especially cost of living being what it is. 

It was a rough October, and though we tried to see things through - including desperately trying to have a good time around our eldest's birthday - it was a bumpy month to be sure.  Though there was one big bright light that came out that I've been informed I can finally announce publicly.

Turns out I'm going to be a grandpa!  Which is sort of the big news around here.  In addition to the book store, my son and daughter-in-law will be bringing a new gift from God to the clan.  Because of that, things will adjust in the coming year.  I'll go into more detail in the new year.  But for now, that's things.  A blessed and joyful new year to all, and I'll be back next week.  God bless, and TTFN. 

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Family fun and frivolity

So I will be away over the New Year holiday, with one notable upcoming exception later today.  And no, it won't be about Governor DeWine's embrace of transgenderism with knife placed gratuitously in the back of common sense and morality.  By now, if you are surprised when Republicans stab conservatives, the nation and its values in the back, you haven't been paying attention.

No, it will be about something else.  Meanwhile, after that post, I'll be gone until next week.  In the meantime, yesterday was a fun one.  Through much wrangling, my sons will at least have New Year's Eve off, and my married son will be coming over along with our daughter-in-law.  It is a custom for us to cap off the week following Christmas proper with what we call a 'Spread.'  That is, an expanded charcuterie board before they were a thing.

That comes from my mom BTW.  When she was growing up, her mom - who I swear always wore an apron - would spend Christmas day cooking an elaborate feast.  Following the presents (which, given the Depression, was likely a speedy affair) she would retire to their tiny, narrow kitchen and that's where she would be for most of the day.  My mom said no way.  She would not do that on Christmas Day.  So it was sandwiches, chips, perhaps leftovers from Christmas Eve. 

We inherited that and it was a tradition my wife warmed up to quickly.  We've added to it over the years.  And for New Year's Eve, we bring back the spread, with extra goodies such as cooked meatballs and those little cocktail wieners dunked in a tangy sauce.  Veggies, chips, sandwich makings, leftovers from the previous dinners, drinks and sweet snacks abound.  

Then it's a rousing game of Scrabble as we await the new year. That's one of those traditions with a definite starting point. I first went out with my wife right before New Year's Eve in 1991.  I was alone in Florida, having just moved there.  Truth be told, she didn't seem particularly taken with me when I dropped her off at the end of our date.  I wasn't sure what my prospects were when I went home.  But she called the next day.  Apparently her mom - not the milquetoast type by any stretch - discovered I just moved to Florida and was by myself.  She would have none of it.  She insisted my wife invite me to their house, where their family from out of town had gathered for a big celebration.

Now, sitting down at a long table with an entire family of strangers is one thing.  When your future wife suddenly comes down with a  migraine and has to excuse herself, leaving you all alone with the room full of strangers, that's another.  Thank goodness for her grandmother.  And her sort of black sheep uncle, both of whom made me feel quite welcome.

They made me feel so welcome that when my wife was better, she joined the family Scrabble game, and invited me along.  The first time I ever played.  It wasn't a great performance on my part, but it set the stage for a tradition that has endured ever since.  It's not my favorite game, but traditions are traditions.  

Speaking of games: 

That's a biggie.  It's called Twilight Imperium.  It is like a game based on every game that has ever been published.  One of the anchor gifts for our board-game-guru third oldest, he has wanted to sit down and play through this game for the longest time.  Since his brother got married, it just hasn't been practical.  That's because in the best of days, you don't get through that game with less than 2/3 of a day at your disposal. 

But it was arranged well in advance.  The two with their bookstore have found various ways of getting the store's name out and increasing revenue.  One is a monthly 'board game night.'  It's been fairly popular.  It takes place on the last Friday of each month.  So this time, the boys make sure they all had this Friday off.  We met long before the store opened to set up (itself quite a task), and began playing before the business day proper.  We then played through the day, watching the store and giving our daughter-in-law a day off to run about and relax and have fun.  

Meanwhile we played, and played, and played.  It was about eleven hours later when the last turn ended and my third oldest barely squeaked by his next older brother for the win.  The two other brothers weren't in bad spots and, with another turn or two, might have clenched the win.  Nobody had any illusions about their old man, who was never a contender for victory.  It was the first time I played after all.  It isn't my cup of tea, but the chance to spend an entire day with the boys like olden days was not going to be passed up by me. I actually watched tutorial videos ahead of time.  

Ages ago, when we first moved to Ohio, our third was just born.  The older brothers were two and going on five.  We rented a duplex just north of town.  Next to our home was a retirement home.  In the home's grounds was a small gazebo.  One day we went over there with the boys, the youngest still in his carrier.  As my wife and I sat there, the two older playing on the rather unforgiving concrete, and the third watching from his carrier seat, I couldn't have asked for better time.  I told my wife then that if I could describe heaven, this would be it.  The only thing missing was our youngest, even if we didn't know it yet.

Yesterday, getting to spend the whole day with the brothers, was one of those 'all is right with the world' moments.  My wife busied herself around the home. Our daughter-in-law stopped by and helped bake cookies.  Even my mom asked to be part of the festivities.  Even if Ohio State lost, it was a fine time.  There was family, fun, and the boys.   Again, all was right with the world. 

Patiently waiting, contemplating, actively playing, 'what the heck are you doing!'

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Dave Armstrong takes off the gloves

And goes full Mark Shea on those who dare suggest Pope Francis has been nothing but orthodox regarding the blessing of people in same sex unions.  You can read the post and all the gracious and humble comments on his facebook page here.

So-Called "Conservative" Catholic Media and "Conservative" American Catholicism Have Gone to Hell ("Big Pulpit" and "Fiducia Supplicans")
+++++++++++++++++
"Big Pulpit" is a website that collects noteworthy Catholic articles and links to them. I've been cited there many times. In yesterday's edition, it featured a section called "Fiducia Supplicans (FS) Scandal" (note how even the *title* is thoroughly slanted and biased), featuring some 40-50 articles: ALL critical of the new document, with the exception of a Catholic Answers' roundtable, which is of mixed opinion (and doesn't include arguably its two best apologists: Tim Staples and Jimmy Akin).
This is an absolute disgrace, and shows that "conservative" Catholic media is now as incompetent and untrustworthy as the mainstream radically secular liberal media. It merely spews one-sided propaganda and slander, where the pope is concerned.
Imagine: a venue that bills itself as "Catholic" and collects Catholic articles, can't bring itself to publish even a SINGLE example of a pure defense of the new document, "Fiducia Supplicans" and a defense of the Holy Father. It's casually assumed that there couldn't *possibly* be such an explanation or take. Not a single one is allowed to be aired in their venue. There aren't two sides; there is supposedly only one: just as in Communist and fascist societies. We now have no free speech in most of the "big" conservative Catholic venues. It's like the old Soviet newspaper, Pravda. I've experienced it myself, in submitting articles that defended Pope Francis.
I'm proud of the fact that the host of my blog, Patheos Catholic -- for all its faults -- , actually allows free speech. I've never had one word of nearly 4,000 articles there censored. I have complete editorial control. I can defend the pope, and I currently have 228 articles posted there that do exactly that. Bravo for true free speech and the exchange of ideas! Catholic365, where I have recently posted some articles, too, also allows this diversity of opinion. So there are still some, thank God.
And this current fashionable skepticism, cynicism, and yes, pseudo-modernism and postmodernism entails -- when all is said and done -- the presupposition that the magisterium can defect from the faith in a matter of faith and morals. It's a denial of the doctrine of papal indefectibility, which was stated in Vatican I in 1870 in the same document where papal infallibility was defined at the highest level of authority. I'll be writing about that again soon, by the way.
The folly of the now-farcical so-called "conservative Catholicism" is manifest to one and all. It has now decided to in effect equate Catholicism with Anglicanism. The Catholic Church (so this mentality would have it) can put out a document that is vastly contradictory to past received tradition. This makes us no different (such folks seem utterly unaware) from Anglicans or any other Protestant denomination that doesn't even *claim* infallibility or indefectibility.
There are very few Catholic apologists who even seem to be aware that the Church and the pope are indefectible and who openly explain and defend those things. I have told you who they are: Pedro Gabriel, the website "Where Peter Is," Michael Lofton, and Tim Staples. My friend, Dr. Robert Fastiggi, a renowned systematic theologian, also defends the pope. As all my readers know, so do I. There are others who don't make it a *habit* of defending the pope. I can certainly understand why, and we apologists have many topics that we have to address. So I won't mention them, but they're out there, and they haven't jumped on the bandwagon.
As in all fascist societies, and now in "conservative" Catholic circles, not only is one single view allowed, but also those who dare to contradict it must be mocked and called names and marginalized. And so those of us who defend Pope Francis are called "popesplainers" (the latest idiotic epithet), "ultramontanists," "papolaters," or "hyperpapalists" or just plain "modernists" or "liberals." And those are just the ones that I can repeat in polite company. I'm proud to be called all these names. Bring it on! You only show yourself to be a fool if you sling these stupid insults around.
I have provided resources of defenses of the pope for those who wish to remain faithful, orthodox Catholics and to avoid the clueless, faith-challenged verbal diarrhea sadly seen almost everywhere today in "conservative" and reactionary Catholic circles. Catholic ecclesiological "conservatives" by and large, now, think no differently than dissident, "progressive" heterodox, theological liberals. I am simply an orthodox Catholic. That's what I have always called myself (if "Catholic" isn't enough).
They pick and choose whatever papal decree they like, and reject at will whatever their subjective opinion dislikes. They make themselves their own popes. They are not a whit different from Martin Luther in this respect. He thought ecumenical councils could err and contradict each other, as well as papal decrees. So do the pope-bashers today (apparently being blissfully aware of the history and the irony). I've studied the history in great depth. It's primarily what made me become a Catholic.
There is also a milder form of pope-bashing or "papal nitpicking", whereby it's admitted that a given document or statement is itself orthodox, BUT it's terrible pastoral guidance, imprudent, unwise, etc. This mentality is also widely used regarding Vatican II. A true Catholic view, I contend, that extends proper deference, reverence and respect towards popes, would be most reluctant to express itself in this way (if it is ever necessary). To do so is to immediately second-guess the pope and the magisterium of the Catholic Church, as if it (and/or the pope) knows less than any Joe Blow Catholic sitting in the pew. It's arrogant and presumptuous in the highest degree. I hate to be so blunt, but for the love of God, just SHUT UP! No good can come from all this dissent and infighting.
In my collection of writings from others, "Pope Francis Defended: Resources for Confused Folks," I provide (currently) 317 articles. I have seven articles up so far, that defend the new document and the pope. I will add more as I find out about them. Here they are:
311. “Despite everything, always blessed” [blessings for homosexuals] (Mike Lewis, Where Peter Is, 12-18-23)
*
312. Catechism on the New Gay Blessings Document (by a “very holy priest” & Michael Lofton, Reason & Theology, 12-19-23)
*
313. Demystifying ‘Fiducia Supplicans’: Answering 7 Frequently Asked Questions [blessings for homosexuals] (Pedro Gabriel, The City & the World, 12-20-23)
*
314. If Social Media Was Around in Christ’s Day [satire] (anon. priest, Reason & Theology, 12-20-23)
*
315. Blessings: A pastoral development anchored in tradition (Rocco Buttiglione, Vatican News, 12-20-23)
*
316. Does The Catholic Church Now Allow Same-Sex Unions? (Fr. Pablo Migone, Labyrinthine Mind, 12-21-23)
*
317. Cardinal Fern├índez: Same-sex blessing ‘does not validate or justify anything’ (Edgar Beltran, The Pillar, 12-23-23)
*
If you want to actually read a different opinion from the one-note tune propaganda, groupthink, and assumed "self-evident truths" of the pope-bashers, these articles will allow you to do so. If you want to remain a truly "traditional" faith-filled Catholic (which includes belief in papal and ecclesial indefectibility) they'll help you quite a bit, I think. If you're brave enough to be a nonconformist in the present fascist, death-of-critical-thinking, "no one can disagree" intellectually and spiritually toxic atmosphere, here is your chance.
*
If I didn't have such a sunny, optimistic temperament by nature, and a very strong, God-given faith, I would be in deep despair over what has happened to orthodox Catholics (I'd be crying all day long, and feeling like Jeremiah did). I can't -- and don't -- think about it too much or for very long. It's too disturbing. It's the devil's victory. He has divided and conquered because we're so stupid and blind and ignorant of doctrinal development and history and Catholic teachings alike.
*
Orthodox Catholicism (i.e., the group of those who *actually* accept -- or *claim* to accept all that the Church teaches) is now a laughingstock, and we are making pathetic fools of ourselves --ruining any good witness for evangelism that we have. We're self-destructing. My own job is made much more difficult now because of all this idiotic nonsense and lack of faith going on. But I will continue. That you can depend on. By mostly ignoring this garbage, I can better continue the work that God called me to.
*
Yes, I know I said I was done talking about this stuff. I intend to keep to that policy, but I also said there might be exceptions on occasion. I posted about the communion of saints today (doing my "regular" work), and then I received notice of Big Pulpit in my mail and saw this surreal fascism that they have adopted as regards the pope, and I just HAD to speak out against it. I couldn't possibly not address such an indefensible outrage (especially since it seems so few others are protesting).
*
So this constitutes my own "jeremiad" on the topic. A jeremiad is not an argument; it's an impassioned "prophetic" proclamation. It's "screaming bloody murder" and warning folks of spiritual danger. I'm not angry (in the raging, furious, intemperate sense). I'm not out-of-control. Don't even try to make that charge. You don't get it if you think that, and have very little familiarity with me as a person. I'm cool as a cucumber, as I always am. But I'm passionate. I'm very upset about what is happening to the Church (mostly in America). And so I "loudly" condemn it in this post.
*
The arguments and rational defenses are in the seven articles I noted in the OP. I also have many sustained arguments regarding papal indefectibility on my Papacy web page, if you want to better understand that, so that you can believe it and not reject it, as is massively happening today.
*
So take note. I will discuss this topic in *this* thread, but that's it. Please don't bring it up in this venue, or in PMs. If you know of a good pro-pope, pro-magisterium article, please let me know in a PM and I'll add it to the collection. Someone notified me of one today (#317 above).
*
My contribution to this controversy will be to continue collecting positive, *truly* traditional Catholic articles.
*
Now, I usually don't provide links in posts because that kills them in the feed (no one sees them). But I think this post will generate enough interest, to be able to avoid that. So here it is:
I'll also provide a link to the collection of my own articles in the combox.
Please like and share this post, if you agree. Spread the word. Thanks. Relatively few read my material. You can help make it possible for many more to do so, if you think what I expressed here is important. So please like, share, and comment (actual civil, charitable discussion). If you troll, you'll be deleted, and if you persist, you'll be blocked.

The sad part isn't what he writes.  The sad part is that it was entirely predictable.  As I said, when people either swing to the Left or defend parts of it, they must:

1. Do that which they once condemned, and
2. Use block, delete, and ban to shut down having to deal with dissenting views, and 
3. Assume worst motives through calumny, accusation, name calling and other childish tricks

I've said a thousand times that these things are hardly unique to the Left.  But they are almost universal among those who must defend anything from the Left.  It's worth noting that, on the whole, these reprobate outlets and individuals like those at Big Pulpit are pretty much the same as they've been for the last several decades.  What has changed is, well, those who are trying to keep next to decidedly leftwing issues and ideologies.  

That Dave once condemned such tactics when it came to attacking Catholics who supported Trump or - and this is rich - back in the day, those who had problems with Pope France, just proves #1. We won't even discuss the laughable whining about Free Speech given his propensity for blocking or banning people who dare challenge him on his pet issues.  Again, it's always disappointing to watch someone become what they once mocked or condemned.  

Not surprisingly, I notice Orthodox Christians are having a field day with this.  Because they see it for what it is.  This is where the Catholic assurance that the Church will never teach error and that no Pope can change Church teaching hits the rock of reality.  All we can do is either be honest, or do, well, what Dave has done, and that's just a long, multi-paragraph version of 'because their mamas wear army boots and dress them funny.'  Again, sad but predictable.  

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Blessing individuals in same sex unions

Here are two of the millions of guesses as to what this means:  

This one from Larry Chapp

This one from Dawn Eden Goldstein

If you don't like either, fear not.  The different readings of this latest declaration are indeed legion, for they are many.  And perhaps, more than anything, that is the saddest part of this entire papacy. After a decade of Pope Francis, I'm afraid modern Catholics could teach Protestants a thing or two.  

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

A warning on this Feast of St. Stephen

Whether Left or Right, beware those who try to kit-bash the history of the Jewish and Christian faith into a cable news talking point:

I'm sure the second list isn't trying to be serious (thought a case could be made).  It's making a point. Those on the Left, who once roasted the 'Religious Right' for trying to mold Christianity into the political Right, are worse when they do the same with the political Left.  Because they add hypocrisy. 

Not that we shouldn't take the Scriptural record and apply it to our times today.  But mostly in the sense of saying 'if God asks something of me, will I say yes?'.  Or 'do I believe God is at work in my life?'.  Or, 'do I believe the events of the Bible are true and that Christ is the savior of the world?'.  Or, 'am I following the expectations that God has of me as proclaimed through the prophets and the apostles?'.  And on and on.  Not, 'If I ignore this Himalayan pile of verses and historical fact, I can make Jesus into a socio-political puppet!'. 

Again, we certainly can try to understand modern events in biblical terms, but never should the conclusion align point by point with an editorial from a political campaign.  My sons - as usual my guides in navigating the mindset of young Americans today - once said we are the generation that finally proves an education is not enough.  Unlike days or yore, when people tried to follow the truth where it led, we begin with the assumption that we are the truth and work backwards.  This approach to the Faith shows that the faithful are not immune to this development.  I see little in our present age to suggest that assumption is working. 

Monday, December 25, 2023

A Merry and Blessed Christmas

And with that, I'll be off of here until a day or two after Christmas, and then off a bit until after the New Year.  Then I'll come back with a little change going forward.  Have a blessed and joyful Christmas season in the meantime! 

But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.  Galatians 4:4-5

Friday, December 22, 2023

The Catholic Church and the latest

I'm sure we all have heard the news.  Pope Francis said that clergy can now bless same sex unions under certain circumstances and for certain reasons. 

It's funny.  Protestantism's biggest failing was not preventing the endless splits and divisions that arose after the Reformation.  Protestants would look at an issue, say they disagree with an issue, and it was off to start a new denomination.  

But Catholics are now doing the same thing.  Perhaps they have been for a long time. I don't know.  But there are clearly different Catholic Churches out there.  Just look at how people are reacting to this.  The news media aside, some are saying this latest development is wonderful. It's a major change in the right direction.  Others are saying it is no change at all. Still others are saying it is a change, but in the wrong direction. Some are saying the blessings have always been there, and in no way suggest the union is being blessed.  Others say this has always happened and is nothing new, that the Church has always been able to bless people in same sex unions.  While others are saying it is merely pastoral, which I suppose is meant to cover a multitude of sins. 

The only difference is, they aren't rushing out and starting their own denominations.  But the difference in how the Church is understood today between rival factions within it is no different than the difference between Baptists, Presbyterians and Lutherans within Protestantism.  Sure, there were some core agreements.  But the understanding of how the Faith actually should look and work were radically different.  Just like we see today in the Church. 

In September of 1999, while I was in the PhD program, I decided to take a big chance.  This was during the Mohler Revolution, and one of the developments of that movement was putting the kibosh on all that lovey ecumenical friendliness with Catholics that had happened in previous years.  That's what I reference when I point out Russ Moore's statements of endless adoration for Catholicism.  If he did have such high opinions of the Catholic Church back then, he kept them to himself as far as I know. For obvious reasons.   

It was a rainy September afternoon, and it was during a break between two seminars.  I went to a Catholic church that was just down from where we lived in student housing for families.  By then my two oldest were around (we would soon find out about our third son).  I went into the office and asked to talk to someone about the Catholic Faith. 

No clue just who the individual was.  She had her own office, I suppose something to do with education.  As is not uncommon, the church had a school attached.  I asked her to give me the skinny on just what Catholicism really believes.  What she said set me back for about a half dozen years.  

She said, in the end, Catholics believe all sorts of things.  It isn't something where you have to believe one thing.  The Church looks mighty different, depending on who you talk to. What one believes about Catholicism can be very different than what another believes, but that's just fine.  I was taken by that.  Why become Catholic?  I could stay Protestant and just denominationally window shop if that's the case.

Years later, after I came into the Church, I was working with the Coming Home Network.  We were at EWTN studios for reasons I can't recall.  It was there I met Kevin O'Brien, Mark Shea and several others.  They invited me to an after broadcast soiree.  While sharing wine and chocolates, Mark Shea sort of put me in front of the crowd and asked me to tell my tale.  When I got to the point above, I remember Mark's quip.  He said nobody works harder to keep people from becoming Catholic than Catholics.  And he was right in that regard.

He also would be correct now, if  he was commenting on the latest from Pope Francis.  It isn't that we are seeing people say Pope Francis just declared something and they think he is wrong.  They don't agree on what he declared. And increasingly they don't agree on what the Church has been doing about this topic since forever.  Even though it's right there for us to look at.  And Pope Francis is right here to clarify.  Yet we are seeing more divisions over this than any brawl between Methodists and Baptists from days gone by. That's supposed to be Catholicism's biggest selling point.  Unlike Protestants who endlessly quibble and divide over this and that core teaching, Catholics have a definite Magisterium with definite teachings that you can reject or accept, but which can't be denied.  Well, that isn't the case now, is it.  

I noticed something this year as we head into the Holidays.  At our local grocery store, the Salvation Army kettle has already been taken down.  I notice some stores, even days ago, are already tearing down the Christmas displays.  Halloween had a longer shelf life.  But is it any surprise that I noticed that the Salvation Army bell-ringers have already taken down their stations?  That some stores began days ago to take down their the Christmas sections?  

Either Christmas, and more to the point Christianity as a whole, is true or not, and our yes should be yes and no should be no in that regard.  When we don't just disagree on a statement, but disagree on what a statement says and what the Church is and has always been about, don't expect the result to be a society that is beating a path to the doors of the Church.  Just ask any Episcopalian or United Church of Christ pastor. 

Rather, expect what we are seeing, and that's a society that is tired of the whole Christmas season.  Not because of the noise or the toys, but because they no longer believe it is true.  That's because we in the Church can't agree about what is true that is right in front of us, and increasingly, what has been true for the past two thousand years. In an age of aggressive secularization and converting the faithful against the Faith, that's as good as hanging a 'Closed for Business' sign on the doors. 

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Bwa ha ha ha ha!


 If you don't get it, you're probably not a big fan of movies. 

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Reflections on the Worst Generation

We've all heard the phrase 'The Greatest Generation'.  That was popularized by Tom Brokaw by way of his book titled The Greatest Generation.  It applied to the generation that fought in World War II.  It specifically applied to the men in the trenches, more than the older generations who were the high ranking officers, commanders and world leaders of the war.  Though I don't recall actual WW2 veterans referring to themselves that way, the phrase took off and was elevated by Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers and that brief wave of patriotism following the 9/11 attacks. 

But I'd like us to consider the Worst Generation.  If we have the greatest, then we must have the worst.  And I don't mean those rascally Baby Boomers who get blamed for everything.  Or Generation X, Y, Z, or whatever.   

By Worst Generation I mean - you probably guessed it - the WW2 Generation.  Yep, the same one labeled the Greatest and cheered by many, including most to the right of center, has some explaining to do, as far as I'm concerned.  Oh sure, they won the battle of WW2.  Even the most sympathetic appraisal, however, suggests they turned right around and lost the war for the civilization that they fought WW2 to preserve. 

Why?  What went wrong?  How could such a storied, celebrated, successful, courageous, and beloved generation fail so miserably after winning so decisively?  I don't know.  I'm sure it would take more than a blog post or even entire blog to unpack what went so horribly wrong.  But it is impossible not to see that, within their lifetime and under their watch, the civilization they inherited is well on its way to oblivion, thanks in part to the time under their watch. 

Again, I have my hunches.  But it would take a book at least, not merely a post or two.  Nonetheless, it's time to be honest.  They failed and failed miserably at the main task of any generation, and that's preserving their inheritance to be passed on to their posterity.  Long before those eager Boomers took over in the 80s (and have yet to let go), you could see the foundations crumbling and the barbarians climbing the gates. 

I'm certainly open to suggestion about how and why they dropped the ball.  But it's time to admit these problems didn't just begin with Vatican II, or the arrival of The Beatles, or even those rascally Marxist Communists  In the latter case, their goals were merely aided by what developed in the years and decades following the WWII generation's greatest, yet brief, accomplishment. 

Thursday, December 14, 2023

I'm sorry my racism was revealed

Is the gist of this story about the racism of Boston's mayor being exposed.  Really.  She's not saying she's sorry they wanted a Christmas party for only non-whites.  She's just sorry the email went out to white people.  

The whole leftwing idea that the Nazis weren't necessarily bad people, they just race hated and industrially mass murdered all the wrong people for the wrong reasons is stunning to behold.  But because the Left now holds the crown, scepter and orb of our nation, there ain't much we can do about it.

Let's face it, if a white Republican sent a similar email excluding non-whites, the mainstream outlets would relocate their newsrooms to outside that mayor's office for the next week.  As it is, except for the Wall Street Journal and some typically right leaning news outlets like The Post, I found nothing in any MSM outlets about this story. 

Which is why the modern news media is about as worthless as alcohol free whisky.  But more sinisterly, clearly it is about advancing agendas and ignoring inconvenient evils, no matter who is hurt or how.  Which is the next step before tyranny, when these things are happening and there is nothing you can do. 

 

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

In which we learn about the Holocaust and the modern Left

And discover that with the modern Left, the Holocaust isn't necessarily a bad thing as much as it's a convenient thing.  

Per this Reuters story, it turns out the Harvard faculty is rallying around their president.  Apparently Harvard alums are doing the same.  This is in the wake of the revealing, but not surprising, testimony she and two others gave about antisemitism on campus.

It's really not difficult.  The Left is about the destruction of the Western Tradition.  I won't add Christian to that because it has effectively ended the 2000 year old Christian era.  We are heading full speed to a pre-Christian pagan world with secular foundations, and seem happy for that direction we are going. 

But whatever can be used to toppled the West matters - as long as it can be used to topple the West.  And that means taking anything, no matter how trivial, and turning it into the Death Star blowing up Alderaan.  You see, the point isn't discussions about free speech on campus we're suddenly hearing about.  Nor is it how these various presidents or other representatives of the universities reacted to the naked calls for mass murdering Israeli Jews (with a fair dose of antisemitism aimed at American Jews).  It isn't even the response of those who are suddenly embracing the idea that freedom of speech, rather than worrying about calls for genocide, is all that matters.

The issue is that the worst slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust, a global wave of support for it and calling for more slaughter of Jews, and the continued alliance with those who would support such slaughter rather than condemning it, comes only a couple of weeks after news broke across the national press that a high school football coach had to resign.  Why?  Because some of the play calling connected to Blitz plays (common in football) were seen by a largely Jewish high school as too close to terminology associated with Nazi Germany.  So that man, a man dedicated to coaching and educating and perhaps mentoring youth in our present age, was forced to quit.  I can remember the multiple stories, and how many (Sam Rocha, I'm looking at you) jumped on the story. 

But look at the caution now.  Look at the appeals to nuance.  Observe the careful analysis about just what we're looking at, how we should look at it, and endless wrangling over freedom, justice, Israeli colonialism, cabbage and kings and anything under the sun rather than clear and unequivocal condemnation of what we have seen and heard since October 7th. 

And a month before that football coach story, we were treated for almost a week of news stories reminding us that this is the sixth anniversary of the terror, the horror, that closest thing to American death camps - the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville  No nuance there.  It was horrible, racist, fascist, to be hated and condemned.  We won't even discuss the outrage over Elon Musk posting a comment suggesting Jews speak badly of whites in ways they wouldn't want applied to Jewish people, or what Kanye West said that unleashed hellfire and fury without mercy.  Compare those reactions to the death by a thousand trivialities we're seeing now connected to the Hamas attack and those who continue to support cheer it on. 

Somewhere along the line the Left emerged as the ideological equivalent of Calvinball.   It has no core values, principles, truths, morals, ethics, nothing. It seeks the utter destruction of the Western Democratic tradition and the worldview of the Christian religion.  To that end it will make a football coach's play calling proof of all the antisemitic Nazi race hate in Western history, while looking at the slaughter of 1400 Jews and calls for more such slaughter, and suddenly want to engage in reasoned and open debate with respect and understanding because of the importance of free speech. 

Remember what my son said about debating modern liberalism.  It's like playing a boardgame with someone while they throw pots and pans at you.  That's about right.  It's not just cheating.  It's saying it gets seven points for that touchdown it scored no matter what inning I think it is or I'm a fascist who should be banned from the game.  You can't deal with something like that rationally or with any semblance of goodwill.  Because to recap: There is one ultimate goal with the Left, and anything - including calls for the genocidal slaughter of Jews - is dealt with only on a case by case basis as it hinders or benefits that goal.  Think long and hard on that one. 

Monday, December 11, 2023

I stopped reading Kevin O'Brien a long time ago

Maybe that is what he means by not being rigid

I had a chance to meet Kevin at EWTN studios many moons ago.  I was there with the Coming Home Network. He was with a group doing something with theater.  It was there I met Mark Shea, and was invited to an after event gathering featuring wine, chocolates and much talk.  IIRC, Kevin struck me as a decent fellow.  

He probably still is, but the post-modern secular world does have a polluting effect.  Kevin's sympathies are clearly left of center.  He's also in the world of drama and theater, which is not exactly ground zero for Gospel values. Nonetheless, I still used to read him and see what he had to say.

Then came the great Lying for Jesus kerfuffle.  That tempest was brought to us courtesy of Dawn Eden.  This is how it happened.   At one point, a decade or so ago, an undercover pro-life investigation discovered that Planned Parenthood might be doing some pretty horrible things with those aborted babies.   The news shot across the Catholic blogosphere like wildfire. Multiple Catholics were up in arms and the outrage even began to filter into MSM news rooms. 

Suddenly, out of the blue, Dawn Eden took fingers to the keyboard and, along with another contributor, said not so fast.  Not that it was difficult to believe Planned Parenthood would do such a thing.  Not that the allegations weren't horrible beyond imagining.  But you see, this investigation was undercover.  They pretended to be people who were in situations that they weren't.  That is, they lied to be undercover.  And that, friends, was the real grave evil.  Whatever evils done by Planned Parenthood paled in comparison to Christians trying to fight evil while being less than 100% pure and honest. 

Bam!  I consider that the day St. Blogs died.  Almost overnight, the LIARS FOR JESUS topic exploded and boiled over.  Soon we found out there was no room for anything but pure, untarnished holiness when fighting for justice or life itself.  No matter what the cost.  Better Jews be hauled off to the camps than lie to save them.  Take that Corrie ten Boom.   At one point Mark Shea linked to a Catholic pediatrician who said he would let a thousand children be murdered rather than risk his soul by telling even a 'white lie' to save them.  

A growing number of Internet Catholics ran in that direction, cheering Dawn Eden for her enlightened guidance in this area.  Among them was Kevin O'Brien.  Those Catholics trying to justify lying for any reason sinned a great sin. They became the infamous 'Liars for Jesus.'  Yes, we bemoan Planed Parenthood and its operations (at least back then). Sure, we weep for the death of the innocent.  Of course we should try to fight evils and injustices in the world.  But never, ever should we think of doing so with anything less than pure holiness, or we immediately become the true, grave and intrinsic evil in the room.  Oh, and the whole Planned Parenthood story all but dropped off the radar by that point. 

Shortly after that time, a year or so perhaps, Kevin wrote a post celebrating the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  He mused about how Ferris was such a noble, admirable figure seeking to live life in a freedom of spirit. He talked about the inspiring themes coming from the film.  If there were problematic people in the film, it was everyone but Ferris Bueller:  His parents, his friends' parents, the school principle, society as a whole.  

I asked him if he actually had watched the same Ferris Bueller's Day Off that I watched.  A movie about how a self-absorbed teenager lies, dupes, cons, and manipulates everyone around him.  He lies to his parents.  He lies to his school.  He lies to the entire city.  He mocks their kindness as one lie after another spreads and leads an entire metropolis to rally together to help save poor Bueller, who doesn't need saved at all.  And he doesn't do it to rescue Jews from Nazis or keep babies from being slaughtered.  He does it all just to be a lazy ne'er-do-well who cares about the latest creature comfort or itch for fun more than anything else.  

How do you square the loftiest of all principles that says 'better to let a thousand children die than lie' with celebrating a movie like that?  That's like emphasizing the high virtues of chastity then recommending Debbie Does Dallas.  He responded with what I call 'word drool.'  That is, he wrote a bunch of gibberish that sounded pretty, but meant he knew what I knew, but what could he say?  That is postmodernity in a nutshell: you care about lying when you care about lying.  When you don't, you don't.  Just like any principle or truth claim in our post-modern age.  Just like whether human suffering is important or not, or anything is true or not.  Or whether siding with the slaughter of Jews is a deal breaker or not. And that was the last time I read anything he had to say.  

Based on this that came to my attention, I haven't missed anything. It's a twist-turn on 'how to keep our focus on those rascally conservatives amidst growing leftwing support for Jew hate and the extermination of Israeli Jews!'  He even references conservative David French who reminds us that right-wingers are terrible for  expecting pregnant mothers to bring all babies to term or daring to suggest the Science wasn't 100% awesome when it came to Covid.  Sure, there is some leftwing Jew hate, but let's not take our eyes off  the ball!

People like David French and Keven O'Brien remind me of why I align conservative.  Not just based on common sense and an objective analysis of secular liberalism's staggering failures.  But because conservatives, for all their shortcomings, failures, badness and sins, tend to be honest about being conservative.  They are conservatives.  They admit it.  They admit what they do and don't like.  

People like O'Brien and French couch their leftwing sympathies in variations of 'I'm not a leftist, it's not my fault the thing wrongly called leftwing ideology just happens to incarnate the Messianic perfection of the Thrice-Holy God!  Hey, merely pointing out conservatives are usually fascists, racists, sexists and motivated by malice. Just following the science here!'  And when that comfortable narrative is threatened by, say, non-conservative, non-Christian, non-White and non-Western calls for ethnic cleansing and the slaughter of Jews, salvaging that unspoken narrative alliance becomes a top priority. 

I'm a stickler for consistency and basic honesty.  No matter my education, I have a meat and potatoes approach to virtue that I inherited from my less formerly educated parents.  Be honest, be consistent, be good, and be real.  And that includes following through with lofty values by which you define good and evil, even if it might impact a movie you like.  If you can't do better than that, I'll assume you can't do much good in anything.  Seeing so many on the Left pull Rodney Dangerfields over the leftwing Israeli Jew hate just goes to show what I mean by anything.  

Friday, December 8, 2023

This hurts

 

Now, I don't know if that is accurate or not, but it sure feels accurate.  I know there are things we have to buy for my mom that have doubled in two years.  And they weren't cheap to begin with.  The same goes for other items at the store.  And we won't even discuss utilities and housing.  

What is telling for me is that those on the Left are acting like nothing is wrong.  I know the media is doing this and I know why.  But not all to the left are multi-billionaires.  Certainly some of them have to be struggling like the rest of us.  I mean, had my wife not done yeoman's work finding a new position that came with a pay raise, I don't know that we'd be making it.  And she makes what only a few years ago was considered a very, very good salary.  Combined with the rest of our income, we are still just barely making it. 

And others, who are Democrats and swing left, must be in the same boat.  Yet all I hear from those I know are how awesome everything is.  Am I missing something?  Usually there is a breaking point with people, but I'm not seeing it. I find that a troubling sign when people who are struggling will say nothing because it's their guy in office.  At least acknowledge it is bad and blame Republicans.  But this is full denial. Which, by my lights, is never a good sign. 

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Remembering

With each passing year, fewer and fewer are here who were there.  A couple decades ago, my family and I had just moved to Ohio.  We went to a local Irish festival that August.  There was a 'genealogy tent' there, and we went in to browse around.  In the crowd of people, I noticed an old codger, walking about on a cane and wearing a yellow cap.  I could tell from behind it was a veteran's cap.

Sizing up his age, I assumed a WW2 vet.  So I maneuvered around through the crowd to see if I was right.  I thought I might say something to him.  After all, WW2 was the topic that first piqued my love of history.   Since I had several family members in the war, I always felt a certain tie to veterans who fought in that conflict. 

I made my way around to get a better look.   When I finally saw what his cap said, I froze.  I just didn't know what to say.   It said US Navy, and then gave the name of the ship on which he had served: USS Arizona.  To this day, I wish I had said something.  Again, the chance to hear from them is fading quickly.  

Now, if WW2 was the topic that was behind my love of history, Pearl Harbor caught my imagination more than anything.  I've always been a fan of 'seismic shift events' in history.  Pearl Harbor, Lexington, Hastings, the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, you name it.  Even as an agnostic, I counted the birth of Jesus Christ on that list.  Things that cut a thick line between before and after have always fascinated me.  And in modern times, few events cut so stark a line between the two as the attack on Pearl Harbor.  

And in Pearl Harbor, the Arizona has always been a point of fascination for me.  I began studying what happened to it when I was in 8th grade, and saw a documentary on PBS about the attack that included a focus on that ship. That was when I saw the famous film clip taken by Dr. Haakenson that caught the explosion for posterity.

About that time, a cousin of mine (much older), had a health issue that put him in bedrest for about a month.  During that time, to kill time, he built a plastic model of the Arizona.  It looked great, and he gave it to me (though now, we believe the turrets would have had a different paint job than we believed when that model was produced).   When I saw the model, it was the first time I saw the ship not a crumpled mess on fire.  From there, I began a life long pursuit to learn what I could about that ill fated ship.  It turns out, there is now only one Arizona survivor.  And he has supported the commissioning if a new ship named the Arizona.  Apparently he is getting his wish.

Anyway, today we remember a different nation from a different time in a different world.  I did see it mentioned, albeit briefly, on the local news.  The intro to the national news mentioned nothing.  For many who are better informed, it is still a day to remember, ponder, and possibly learn from.  

In case you are interested, below is a fine animated video that gives a play-by-play, at least on the attack on the harbor itself.  I like it because he challenges the age old assumption that Pearl Harbor was, for the Japanese, a tactical triumph but a strategic disaster.  He says not so fast.  Given what the air crews could have accomplished that day, they fell woefully short.  I especially liked that nod to cultural influences behind why some of the poorer target selection may have happened.  

Anyway, apart form a few statistical flubs (which he does try to correct on the screen itself), it's a good look for those who have always heard of the attack, but don't know how it went down. 


UPDATE: 

Below is a clip someone on Facebook showed me of actual news reel coverage of the attack.  The news channels of the day, this is what the US population would have seen in theaters in the days and weeks following the attack. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Sad Truth

 

In case you missed it, a week or so ago, Carron Phillips, a broadcaster working for an outlet called Deadspin, saw a picture of this 9 year old in profile, showing only the blackened side of his face.  Immediately he went on a tirade, yelling blackface, racism, the Death Star blows up Alderaan, the usual for modern social activism.  He demanded the NFL speak out against this naked display of racism. 

The parents of the child, immediately beset with threats and insults and personal attacks against them and their son, responded that Mr. Phillips missed the full picture.  He's merely wearing the colors of the team.  Plus, they themselves are Native American. 

That did no good, and the brave Mr. Phillips hunkered down, screaming trauma and terror upon minority groups everywhere.  Soon Native American activists were asked their opinions.  Some supported the family, others distanced themselves, warning against cultural appropriation.  Still others outright disavowed the family altogether. 

Meanwhile fans became divided, with many expressing anger at the family for such a racist costume, while others defended him, noting the colors are the team colors, and often seen in people who dress up for the team.  While others said it was a subtle dig, since there has been pressure against the Chiefs because 21st Century America. 

And all over a nine year old in a costume.  That's the embarrassingly low status we've been reduced to as a society.  This is why the 9/11 Attacks were everything Japan had hoped Pearl Harbor would be but wasn't.  Because the generation that Japan attacked realized the ones who did this were the enemy:

While our generation, and our courageous and bold societal leaders, think the one who does this is the enemy: 

Friday, December 1, 2023

Friday frivolity: A strange interlude

As I ponder a dream I had last night.  I was in a large open field, in which apparently some of it was our own personal garden.  It was this time of year, a grey cloudy day, and I was pulling up old dead plants and vines.  A couple of my sons were there, though not all.  I don't recall which ones, nor do I think it was made clear in the dream.  I just know they weren't all there.  As I was pulling up some old, brown vines I mentioned to them that I still needed to remove the hyacinths.  

The hyacinths?  Hyacinths?  Why them?  I'm sure I've seen some in my life, but never have we tired to grow them or even have them in the house that I'm aware of.  I don't even know if we could.  I'm not a big flower person.  I know the basics and the famous ones.  For instance, I can tell a rose from a dandelion or a carnation. But I'm no floral expert.  So why hyacinths?  Why not roses, or violets, or even tomato plants? What is the significance?  

The only thing I can think is that we watched the old DVD version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats last night for pizza night. Not the horrific nightmare movie that came out on the eve of Covid.  It was the delightful filmed version of the Broadway phenomenon that was released in the late 1990s.  My third son, as physically strong and outgoing as he is, has a soft spot for musicals, including musical theater.  Phantom of the Opera is one of his favorites.   He also loves Cats.  So last night, with three of the brothers available (the other one is in play practice this week for a local theater production of Miracle on 34th Street), we decided to watch that for his sake.  He's had some pretty rough weeks at his workplace, and we thought that might cheer him up. 

While we were watching, we were talking (as we often do over things we've seen before) about Webber's success with this production. One of the biggest Broadway hits of the century, displaced only by his next musical Phantom of the Opera.  We said Webber had a knack for taking some pretty obscure sources and making them work, such as a musical based on Eliot's work Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.  We said it's easy in hindsight, but how does one make such a book of poetry into a smash hit musical?  Then my oldest son quipped that sure Webber  made this one work, but did he ever try a musical based on The Waste Land

I wonder.  Could that be the connection?  That's the best I can come up with. Dreams are weird they say, but I've never read much into them.  Nonetheless, it did strike me as random.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

That sound you hear is our freedoms leaving the room

So I was working here on some bills and banking, with the local news on in the background.  Suddenly I heard a story - a long story - that some trustee in a local township is being called upon to be fired.  That's because he said a 'racial slur' when talking about Juneteenth.  

What caught me, other than the reporters camped out near the town hall like they were waiting for the white smoke, was an interview with a local representative of the NAACP.  She went completely terminator on the fellow, at one point saying his neighborhood should be made aware of this and should not tolerate him living anywhere near them. 

What?  Over a racial slur?  Over a word?  A single word?  And you say the communal equivalent of tar, feather and exile?  What happened to that lazy, crazy,  hazy liberalism I grew up with that said you can't ever judge? Rehabilitate and forgive, that's the ticket.  When exactly did that liberalism die?  But of course, it's more serious than a woman donning her Salem apparel when it comes to the wrong people saying the wrong things.  That is, he wasn't a black trustee nor was he Quentin Tarantino.  In those cases it would be fine.  

A friend of mine who is a Presbyterian minster, and no slouch as a historian, once told me that when you live in a free country like ours, tyranny is like a vampire.  You have to invite it in.  Which is what we're seeing with our catastrophic levels of divisions and group identity.  Hence the NAACP woman who apparently feels a single misstep is enough to be forever exiled into the outer darkness and loathed by entire communities.  

I wonder if she would like that standard applied to her. If she gets her wish with this fellow, I have no doubt she'll have her chance down the road.  Our Founding Fathers were smart enough to grasp that little fact of history that so many today are strangely forgetting. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Ouch

I'm not a fan of appealing to comedy to make a political point, but I almost felt sorry for the GOP with this one:

At the end of the day, charging forth into battle with the GOP on your side is like storming the beaches with an accordion.  They have proven themselves worthless time and time again.  Reagan was a fluke, not the rule.  While I have no doubt about the sincerity of some in the GOP, the party as a whole looks on people like me as an annoyance at best.  And when it comes to fighting for the most important virtues and truths, I don't see them being worth much in the long run. 

And I know, there isn't much else politically to grab at this point.  Nonetheless, I never kid myself that the GOP is, at best, like grabbing a life preserver that is taking on water.  

Monday, November 27, 2023

When Catholics are the Left's best friend


Always comes to mind around Thanksgiving, as Catholics everywhere rush forth to pull the rug out from under the traditional Thanksgiving holiday customs and stories.  Remember, one of my core observations is that at any given time, with any topic under the sun, that thing we call 'The Left' can count on 1/3 of all who oppose it to join in a particular cause. 

Now, the Left is easy and pretty open to work with in this regard.  One of its most important tasks is to upend the Western tradition.  Call it evil, wrong, dumb.  Say we have been wrong about our history, our heritage, our heroes.  Anything.  Today labeling it with the unforgivable sin of colonialism, or imperialism, or racism, does the job since in our post-Christian age, forgiveness is passe.  Call something those things and it's as good as saying eradicate them now. 

But if you can't go that far, at least demand change, or say we ware wrong, the heroes were not, we've been lied to - anything that says the civilization we inherited is not real, is based on lies, was bad, whatever. 

Enter Catholics.  I've said the death of America began when we convinced ourselves that America had no right to be a WASP nation in terms of a common culture.  Even a WASP nation trying to assure everyone was free and had equal opportunities wasn't enough.  Apparently though China can have Chinese culture, and Japan Japanese culture, and Iran Islamic culture, and so on, America can't have a particular culture of its own.  

That was the context of learning what WASP meant when I was in elementary school.  There was a dark time in American history when America was a WASP nation - but then God said 'Let there be light', and our first non-Protestant was elected president!  Hurray!  One of the most significant events in American history, or so I learned in the day.  Catholics I knew back in the day, and even now, repeat that celebrated observation with gusto.  Often sprinkling it with allusions to old American Protestant bigotry against Catholics.  

Of course sane thinkers realized it would take no time to move from WASP to WASC, then WASR, and finally WASS real fast.  That's Protestant to Christian to Religious to Secular.  The Anglo-Saxon being a big thing then too, as Italians and Poles and Greeks were considered every bit the ethnic minorities in our country as Indians or blacks.  Of course today, as we chisel away at the remaining 'W' (white) part, anything from west of the Urals is part of White, and that has to go.

But this wouldn't be possible without the help of anyone not in the latest demographic designation that has to go.  And among those are Catholics - conservative Catholics, traditional Catholics, Catholics opposed to modern secular progressivism.  Because though they may despise and loathe and reject the Left's moves to overturn the West and America, they just can't resist at certain times of the year lending a helping hand. 

I first encountered that when I began visiting St. Blogs back in the mid-2000s.  It was heading into Thanksgiving that first year of my visits.  Most of the Catholic bloggers I followed were what you would call right of center.  But all of a sudden, I thought I was reading a secular progressive history book published by Pravda House.  I had no idea how wrong we were about the Thanksgiving story, even though it had been trounced for decades by that time.  I was stunned to see how worthless the Puritans were, or mean, or how those Protestants were really all about the slavery part, but a Catholic led the way.  Or how it was really Catholics who deserve credit for he real first Thanksgiving

And all those years ago, even then, I recognized the folly with this.  Is it wrong to go for accuracy?  To tell different sides of a story?  Well, no.  Depending on how you do it.  And depending circumstances. But there is a time and place.  I've said before there is nothing wrong with preaching against gluttony.  But I wouldn't advise it if you're in an anorexia ward in a hospital. 

In another age, if Catholics wanted to point out overlooked details, while not pulling the rug out from under the traditional story, celebration and events, no problem.  But I wouldn't do it now.  Because as I said, the Left is a patient and willing partner.  The only thing important is that you have someone - anyone - saying what America inherited, what we valued, what we celebrated, was wrong.  That's all. We can add the genocide and Nazi and racist filth later.  

That's why it's enough that even people not inclined to agree with the Left admit that some part of America we learned about was a lie all along.  Any part.  There will be plenty of others saying the same thing about other parts of the Western Christian Tradition.  And in the end, there will be quite a ledger of protests to justify the need to burn the whole thing to the ground - all signed by those who in most other cases are fighting like mad dogs to keep that from happening.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Hmmmm

I remember seeing this:  

Then suddenly, I see this:

Makes you wonder.  Don't think I don't.  

Friday, November 24, 2023

Speaking of family fun

This October was, shall we say, a little suboptimal in the fun and frivolity side of life.  I didn't mention it on the blog since I'm not inclined to visit such things on the readers, because I imagine others have their own problems.  I will when it comes to health or similar urgent concerns.  But this was what I call 'problems to deal with.'

That problem was my wife having her position cut in late September.  She spent years getting things running, solving the problems that were stacked to the ceiling, and generally fixing the mess that had been handed her years ago.  In keeping with the modern corporate mindset, that could only lead to one response from the higher-ups:  Cut her position.  She got things working, that's less money we have to spend by getting rid of the position!  Sometimes I can't figure why youngsters have no feeling of loyalty to the companies they work for today.   I'll have to think on it. 

Anyhoo, that was a cloud that hung over us throughout our usually festive time of October and Fall.  I'm happy to say that my wonderful wife was able to find another, better position, owing to her reputation and contacts and just general awesomeness.  It came with a title step up and pay bump and the whole nine yards.  That was finalized in the first week of November.  So you might say the whole of October, while still October, saw other things on our minds. 

Nonetheless, despite that and just the changes that go with life, we still managed to drag - albeit at times kicking and screaming - a few old fun traditions out to enjoy.  The sons joined us when they could, and when all were available it was great.  It was also our oldest's birthday, as it is every year.  Heh.  Again, it wasn't easy, and it was on top of what was already a whirlwind year of wonderful blessings and some pretty hefty challenges.  

But we managed to pull out some old fun times, a couple new fun times, and always improved by the fact that when they could, my son and our daughter-in-law came along as well.  So a few pics from a bumpy October and surrounding autumn, and hopefully smoother sailing ahead. 

No OSU game this year, as I said earlier.  But we took our youngest
to his first game at the local university.  He liked it and wants to go
back next year.  Mission accomplished!

The Ohio Historical Center has nifty things, including
an annual Sleepy Hollow fest at its 19th Century town set up. 
Featured was storytelling, which is a lost art, but a great one.

The youngest and oldest at Sleepy Hollow. The others having 
other obligations.  We're learning to make do.

By nighttime it did start to take on a spooky atmosphere.

Owing to his crippling allergies, our oldest can't eat out
at many places, including old faves like Olive Garden. So to
the best of our abilities, we brought Olive Garden to him for his B'Day

For his birthday week, he wanted to trek up to my old stomping grounds
and get some fresh squeezed apple cider at the orchard that marked 
my first field trip ever in kindergarten.  Three bros present this time.
 
We don't do a lot of the things we used to, but on our way home,
they asked to swing by the old cemetery we used to include in our 
annual 'ghost runs.'  That's the old mausoleum that looks it.

He, the strongest, is best helping my mom about.  That's a right 
sincere pumpkin patch, if I may say so. 

My son and daughter-in-law managed to come by
with us as we picked out our pumpkins.  The costume 
was a nice (and homemade) touch.

He would pick the biggest pumpkin he could find.

For some reason, my wife asked to let the leaves stay in the yard
until after Halloween.  I admit, I sort of like the natural look. 

The whole gang was present for carving pumpkins.  We used to
get one for each, and I had to do the carving.  Talk about tired hands.
Now they do their own (my mom draws her design now and we leave it 
at that)

Old decorations of the type my mom and dad had when I was young.
I like those better than the big, gaudy stuff today.

Mom showcases her holiday work of art.

She hadn't carved a pumpkin before!  New experience and 
possibly one of the most postcard deserving designs.

The three boys' pumpkins on Halloween night (our second
took theirs with them). 

Smaller than in times past, but still a bit of a spread for snacking
while handing candy out to the tricks or treaters.

The weekend after, we all took a drive through Amish country. First
up a railroad museum including a working roundhouse.


You forget how big those beasts were.  My dad was happy to see
the steam era go the way of the butte churn - noisy, cold, hot, dangerous.

I loved that they looked back at the same moment - I wonder why.

Not sure what our oldest is looking at, but he seems interested.

I don't know, but it may have caught his attention, too

In front of our house - photos don't do it justice.

Our son and daughter-in-law came by Thanksgiving evening for dessert,
including the annual 'eating of the pie crust' (started by our oldest when he was 
little).  The A Charlie Brown Christmas.  And that was a wrap.